Waking up in a dark room, with the alarm blaring, and a chill on the shoulder from where the doona has come down overnight, makes getting out of bed at 5:30am seem more difficult, and hitting snooze, pulling the doona up and rolling over to get another hour of sleep more appealing.
It’s Melbourne, the cold weather and dark mornings are upon us, and the ‘Winter Blues’ are setting in.
After 4 years of observing the ‘Winter Blues Effect’ I have examined what I consider as being the major contributing factors, having being one to fall victim to them prior to working in the industry.
The first step is if you find yourself falling off the wagon, just like any other problem, acknowledge it exists and understand you’re not the only person experiencing it.
Once we know it exists we then need to address it by following the next 3 steps.
You would have seen the above quote before, I’m going to take it one further – “motivation gets you started, having a plan that reflects your goal and sticking to it is what keeps you going”.
Motivation is what gets you up in the morning, or out the door at work of a night. Unfortunately motivation isn’t something that can be purchased in a can at 7 Eleven and sipped on prior to training.
When broken down, motivation is the core reason/s why you want to train.
I want to look better
I want to look better to attract the opposite sex
I want to look better at the beach when I’m in my bathers
I want to look better in photos on the gram so I look like I’ve got my shit together
I think it is fair to say that one of the above has floated through our mind at one stage.
Reasons that focus on what we look like during summer will easily deterioate as the colder months set in and the number of layers we wear increases. As the motivation towards the reasons deterioate, so to will training consistency, with thoughts of ‘I’ll do it later in the week’, ‘I’ll make up for it next week’, or ‘I’ll get started next month’ set in.
I know from experience because I’ve had all of the above run through my mind at one stage or another.
So how do you counter your motivation deterioating? It’s looking beyond the physical or aesthetic reasons for training.
Why do you really want to look good?
I want to look good because it makes me feel good
When I feel good I feel more confident in myself
When I feel more confident I feel like I can be myself
When I feel I can be myself I am more self assured at work and when I’m out socialising
Do these reasons stop when the weather drop? I didnt think so.
There are a lot of other reasons for training.
When I’m training consistently I feel more productive, I have better energy and mood
When I’m focusing on my health it gives me purpose
When I’m making daily improvements in my training, I take that mindset into the day with me
When I’m focused on my health it puts me in a positive mindset which effects everything else I do
More productive, a greater sense of purpose, a results based and positive mindset that flows into the rest of your life. They all sound like fantastic reasons to stay consistent no matter what is happening outside.
Now that we’ve got our reasons for training in mind, creating a consistent training routine that supports it is key. Where I see issues come in when there isn’t a program being followed or a number of sessions committed to each week to hold someone accountable.
To counter this if you are looking to build muscle or strength, following a training program with the same sessions and exercises each session is what is going to allow you to remain consistent with executing those sessions each week.
NOTE: Training programs should last 4-6 weeks depending on your goal and experience level. This is to allow you to spend 1-2 weeks improving your understanding and execution of each exercise, and 2-4 weeks building your training intensity, volume of work, and resistance being used.
Or if you are looking to be active, improve your fitness, lose or maintain weight and enjoy the group training environment, committing to a specific number of sessions each week is where to start (ie; I will train 3 times per week, or I will train 4 times per week for the next 4 weeks). Now that the number of sessions per week is locked in, book those same sessions in for the next 4 weeks.
NOTE: When considering what days and times to train, think about when you train at your best so that you can perform at a higher level, rather than what is convenient.
Now that we’ve got the pad and pen out..
Now that we have our reasons for training and our training routine front of mind, we want to make every session count by having something to focus on during training to keep our minds stimulated and avoid plateauing.
Walking into each session with a clear focus what you want to get out of it, will lead to you gaining more from it. This is instead of turning up, going through the motions and ticking the box to say that you were present.
For weight training, the purpose for each session is to stimulate the muscle by isolating it, engaging it and performing each rep with control. Combine this with a training program that focuses on improving execution, the reps completed and weight used, and tracking these things each session, will allow you to get the most out of each session.
In the group fitness space, if weight loss is the goal, the purpose when stepping on the gym floor should be to torch as much body fat as possible with intensity. Turning up half asleep and going through the motions isnt going to get the job done. The best way to keep tabs on your intensity, at the completion of each exercise ask yourself “Am I operating at 90-100% or am I cruising?”
If improving fitness is your goal understanding what your numbers are will be key to continuing to make progress.
We utilise Concept 2 Skiergs, Assault AirRunners, Rogue AirBikes and Concept 2 Rowers in the studio. Focusing on your tempo, speed or distance for time on each of these machines will ensure that your training intensity remains consistent.
- Skierg & Rower use the /500m tempo to measure your intensity, ie; 1:30 /500m
- AirRunner or Air Bike use your speed (km/h), ie; 60km/h
- Using 200m, 400m, 500m or 1km distance for time across all machines
A constructive way of monitoring your success of implementing these 3 practices, is each Sunday afternoon prior to settling in for The Bachelor, is to refer to your journal or notes and rate yourself across them.
How was my training motivation last week?
How was my training routine?
And how was my focus during training?
Based on what the above 3 answers tell us, we can then identify what adjustments we need to make the following week, so that 1 off week doesn’t turn into 1 off month.
The purpose with building these 3 training habits is to support you in maintaining consistent training behaviours, which allow you to maintain the benefits year round.
We offer Initial Consultations to new clients joining the GRIPT Community to uncover these 3 key points prior to training starting. We also offer our existing clients ongoing consultation to check in on their current goals to make sure that their routine reflects it.
If you would like to make a time to discuss your goals, get in touch.